Monday, September 22, 2014

Let Autumn reign ...

The Beast is tamed...
Today is the official first day of autumn. With it comes the official end of the Summer From Hell of our first year of cruising. Even better, the WesterBeast rumbled to life today on the second turn of the crankshaft and settled into an easy idle. Buckets of water pulsed out of the exhaust. It may be just wishful thinking on my part, but the Beast seemed as happy as I have ever seen it. Maybe the new exhaust gasket along with a steady flow of raw water and the fixing of loose this and butched up that, actually did some real good. There are still things to do but, as of this evening, there is no reason to regard Kintala as anything but a ready-to-go cruising boat once again. In addition to a happy Beast she has a solid foredeck and new furling system on the staysail. Better again, we have eight days before the ax falls on the dock fees. There are oil changes to do, stuff to clean, and the normal trial of trying to get a boat that has been sitting still way too long, ready to be under way once again. But those are either routine or just good stuff.

The Summer From Hell was not all bad, of course. We spent months with Daughter Eldest, Son-in-Law, and Grand Sons Two. JJ and I sang “BOOM” at the sky. Christopher sat with me and sanded boat parts. We motored up the ICW from Dinner Key to Cooley's with the boys on board, saw a manatee, and went swimming in the ocean. The Family lore that will be passed down long after I am gone has some new chapters in it that will be hard to beat. Between The Bear and the work on Kintala we have seen some ugly and taken a real beating, that can't be denied. But we have also had the chance to share the kind of love that costs. Which, in the end, may be the only kind of love that matters. As difficult as it was, as long as it may take to recover, it is hard to say that it wasn't worth the price. Tonight I am content to accept it for what it was, hope that we did the best we could, and let it be.

Back in my old life the first day of autumn was always a good day. I like the change of seasons and autumn was my favorite. It also meant that winter was next. Which was okay as well. I looked forward the challenges that came with making a living in the sky during the months of winter. I didn't mind the cold (though once-upon-a-time frostbitten hands and feet hurt when the temperature drops) and actually enjoyed the city under a blanket of snow – so long as I didn't have to drive the Z-car on snow covered streets. This new life brings a different meaning to the first day of autumn.

Right up front is that, here in the sub-tropics, the first day of autumn generally means it just rains a little more. It is still in the upper 80s during the day, the humidity is still a killer, and any bald headed men that go out without a hat are just asking for abuse. Best for me though is that, though it doesn't mean that winter is next, it does means that the Islands are next. It will be a few months yet as a new grand baby is due in December and we plan to be back in St. Louis to welcome the new one into the world. But soon after we will be headed across the Stream once again, to spend the winter as ex-pat Americans living in a country that isn't as crazy as the one on our passports. “Winter” means a whole new thing in this cruising life, but I think I like it.

And for now the summer is over. Let Autumn reign.

1 comment:

Rodger McManus said...

TJ,

your fortitude and perseverance are worthy of nautical sainthood! May your final phase of an oil change go without incident and you find yourselves back on the open seas once again!

FYI... we are unloading our hunter 30 (any takers out there?) and looking at a cpl 40+' Ketches with anticipation of a few years of fresh water shake down, then were coming to find you! I prey you will be there when we do!!

Rodger and Jen